The modern concept of fairness is rooted in achieving justice. Biblically, however, both fairness and justice must be defined as doing things God’s way. From a Christian perspective, the only way to be fair is to apply God’s word accurately to a given situation.
Paul says that obeying parents in the Lord is the right thing and, therefore, the fair thing. This is a freeing principle for parents and children. It is not always necessary to check and see if big brother got a larger scoop of ice cream. Being obedient to God leads to trusting him that he will be fair with us—even if others appear not to be fair.
Now we are ready to make this application to your own home.
One of our readers, Heather, had a question regarding her 4-year-old and her 19-month-old:
My children are 4 years old and 19 months old. My 4 year old is certainly capable of learning about sacrificial love, but her little brother just isn’t old enough to grasp those concepts. So when they’re squabbling over a toy, I really have a hard time knowing how to respond to both of them in a biblical manner.
Given the ages of these children, obviously Mom is going to have to help the children see what God wants. It is important for the four-year-old to be committed to honoring and serving her younger brother. This is not a natural response for children. The four-year-old could legitimately fear that her little brother will think he has acquired a personal servant.
This is where parents come in to keep things focused on God’s perspective. The younger child also must be taught that the world (in this case, his family) does not exist to serve him, but to serve God. When there is a squabble over a toy, the issue must not be equal time; rather, the issue is what honors God?
The older sister can help her brother understand how to play more enjoyably with certain toys, just because of her age and experience. She can “have fun” helping her little brother learn how to play with his toys. She can even help him learn how to play on his own more effectively. The little brother must be taught to appreciate his sister’s efforts. He can be taught that she is not a servant but someone that God has placed in life to help him. There will be times when she will play on her own as well, and that is also appropriate. What is important is to teach here is that if God is honored, things will be best for everyone.
The love of Christ can replace the desires of the flesh with biblical fairness—the fairness that teaches that the last will be first, because Christ came not to be served, but to serve.